I-League champions Chennai City alleged that their Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa was racially abused by the referee during their match against Bashundara Kings at the Sheikh Kamal International Cup in Bangladesh on Thursday.

Reportedly, the Chennai City officials raised the issue with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) match commissioner and Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF). After the match, the club even took to their official Twitter handle to inform the fans about the same.

“Targetted derogatory and racist remarks are extremely impudent and harmful for the person at the receiving end. Chennai City FC can confirm one of our players was racially abused by the referee in today’s Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup game against Bashundhara Kings.

“Club has raised the same with the AFC Match Commissioner and Bangladesh Football Federation officials,” tweeted Chennai City FC.

The alleged incident took place in the 24th minute when Chennai were awarded a free-kick. While waiting with the ball for his setpiece, the former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan player was seen arguing with the referee after which he went to his coach.

The play was stopped and as the referee asked the players to resume the game, Katsumi charged towards the official before his teammates blocked. The match went on to an extended pause after the 31-year-old alleged racial abuse from the referee.

However, the allegation did not have any immediate effect as Katsumi was shown a red card by the referee and the Chennai City footballers were forced to take to the pitch in the 35th minute.

The match was also heated by the scuffle between the club officials. The Indian team’s officials exchanged harsh on words with Basundhara head coach Oscar Bruzon before the Chennai coach Akbar Nawas was sent off as well by the referee.

In fact, the last 20 minutes of the controversial game saw the tourists play with only nine men after Roberto Eslava saw his second yellow card following a foul on Bashundhara Kings’ Daniel.